Desarrollos Gastronomicos S.A. (Degasa), the private investment company that controls D&G, the operator of the popular Havanna Cafe franchise, announced a hat trick of fast food outlet expansion in 2012. After opening their first Wendy’s in Argentina on Libertador Avenue in Martinez, the holding company will begin to look beyond Argentina’s borders.
One of Degasa’s first orders of business will be expanding the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise in Chile. The company purchased the KFC license together with China Wok from Ricardo Vilensky and Universal Foods.
Degasa wants to use Chile as the regional base for KFC’s expansion given Chile’s relative maturity in the fast food franchise market. Argentina, in contrast, is less developed and has greater population and greater upside potential for opening new outlets.
In addition to opening 14 KFC and China Wok locations in Chile, the company plans to open many more KFC, Pizza Hut and Wendy’s outlets in Argentina. In the 1990’s, then-Ohio-based Wendy’s opened 18 company-owned restaurants before pulling out of Argentina altogether in 2000. Pizza Hut followed a similar trajectory opening Buenos Aires locations in the 80’s and 90’s before leaving a decade ago.
The return of these franchises to Argentina sends a strong message regarding local demand for quality and consistency in casual dining. As best-selling author and marketing expert Claudio Destefano told our readers last year in Privada, “Argentine buyers are very “marquero” (as we say here), because Argentines travel a great deal and want to enjoy the same brands here that they experienced abroad.”
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